by underswansea


There was a dirt road that ran beside the highway for twenty miles between Blunt Peak and Shatter. They were separated by a half-mile of timber, mostly fir and pine, some grass and a shit load of juniper. The roads existed separate from each other, motorists traveling on either might never know the other existed if not for local knowledge or a glimmer of headlight here and there through the thicket.

Boy would drive the highway when he went to visit the Old Man. A few games of crib along with a few whiskies was the rule. They talked about the weather, the ice on the lake or if the creeks were clear enough to fish. Come summer; how the garden was growing. The Old Man talked about the birds at the feeder. Boy didn’t care much about birds.

They both cared about whisky. Boy always brought. The Old Man always had a supply. The Old Man drank from a scratched glass with a rim full of chips. Boy preferred the bottle.

Boy always drove the dirt road back to Shatter. He drove it slow. Drinking the last of the Whiskey. He thought about the Old Man and how he had nothing but the birds at the feeder. Boy listened to the radio loud. When he stopped to piss, about midway, just before Lantern Creek, he turned the music down.

He wanted to feel the mountains on his right. Listen to the breeze bending the tops of the trees. He heard birds. Lots of birds. It was winter, so they sounded not cheerful, but like crickets in summer. The Old Man was probably in bed by now.

If he planned his whiskey properly he’d park his truck when he took his last swallow.