He was onto him. Knew the steps he was taking. Leading to no good. Had been all his life. The old man always knew he was trouble. Even back when he was a kid in school. Stealing bubble gum money. Being a bully. Boy would fight just for the sake of fighting. Maybe he liked getting punched. Maybe?
This time, the boy stayed away for awhile. Took off after an argument with the old man. Something about remembering their old dog’s name. The one that died when he was a kid. Boy said his name was Pete. The old man said it was Floyd. Then that conversation lead to another argument about what mom’s favorite dinner was. Boy said chicken fried steak while the old man stated that it was spaghetti with Ragu sauce from a jar. The kind with the chunky vegetables in it.
You don’t remember anything do ya? boy said. Certainly don’t remember anything about your family. You’ve always just thought about yourself, boy took another drink of Miller High Life, the champagne of beers. I remember things about you, he said. How you’d leave at night time and not come back for days. Sometimes weeks. Leaving me and mom here to fend for ourselves. She raised me. You didn’t.
I’ve always kept this family afloat, the old man said. Contributed every dime I made. Gave it all away to you and mom. Where was mine? So, I took off sometimes. Can you blame me? But, I always knew you were going to be a problem.
I said, how so?
You’ve just always been a fighting kind. Maybe you got that from me. I was always getting in fights when I was younger too. Then I married your mom. That straightened me out.
Did huh? You’d like to think it did, boy took another drink. Said, I’m leaving for good this time. I’m not coming back.
You’ll be back. You weren’t made to last too long on your own. Always coming back here. I don’t know why you leave at all.
Boy walked out the door and started down the highway in his Maverick. He was listening to some song by Steve Earle.