He looked and saw nothing. Darkness. Out lines of window frames. A sliding glass door. Birds chirped away in the backyard. Another hour before sunrise. Streetlights shined a blue and yellowish color.
It was peaceful. He had been up all night wondering around the trailer park. Dogs barked. Cats ran and hid. The boy kicked a can down the street. Saw trash cans overfilled. Heard trucks off in the distance. Highway 30 was close by. A train ran through town. He had options.
The old man was asleep. Passed out early that night. A can of Miller High Life slipped through his hand and made a mess on the carpet. He just kept on sleeping. The boy picked it up quickly and drank what was left. Just a slurp. He opened another. The teen knew the old man had lost count.
Boy must’ve walked around the trailer park for hours. He was trying to decide whether to leave or not. There was nothing much to stay for. Mom had died a few years ago. The old man was at death’s door. His cat ran away. Why couldn’t he, he thought. What was holding him back? The boy had a little cash from working at the Kroger store. Stocking cans and cleaning aisles. Smoking cigarettes out back and talking smack. His restlessness was getting to him.
Boy went back inside his trailer. The TV was still on. The sound was down. Just Sheriff Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke was on. Walking through town. Looking for bad guys. Women in petticoats. Saloons filled with drunks and gamblers.
And then it hit him. He’d go out to Vegas. Take his money and play the slots. And when he won, just walk away. Start a new life. That’s what he wanted. A new life.
Pop was in a dreamlike state. Blurry eyed, he woke up in a haze. There was a note on the coffee table. His bare feet squished on the wet carpet. The note said, I’m gone. Adios.
The old man read it and laughed. He took another beer from the fridge and whispered, What a strange boy. Good luck.