Whatever



Whatever

It’s really not that hard, you just make a decision. You think about what you want to do and then you work at it. Simple. Easy. That’s what I tell him, but it never sinks in.
Lots of people change their jobs, but you need to pick a vocation. You have to start. If you don’t do something you will never be ready for anything, that’s what I’ve been telling him for three years. I keep on telling him, but he never listens. Now I’m trying to show him carpentry, but he’s always distracted.
“I’ve got a splitting headache.”
Lot that phone will do for you son. Yeah, keep on staring at that phone, texting, watching videos.
“Son, will you put that thing down and pay attention!”
“Wait It’s almost done, Dad you should see this.”
“No thanks.”
Boy can’t read you know, that school just passed him through, can’t read a sentence, can’t turn a page, doesn’t know what a page is. Hell doesn’t know what a book is. Last month I bought him a book, he never read it.
“Come on son, put it down we need to cut these boards. I need to get these deck boards cut before it rains.” Deaf as a post. Put your gloves and goggles on and go get that plank over there.”
“What’s a plank Dad? Don’t look at me that way. I asked cause I don’t know. You always tell me to ask, don’t you?”
“The planks are the one by sixes, thinner than the other boards, and they are as long as the shed.”
Always ignores me, don’t pay no attention. I showed him everything as a kid, took him places, took him to Washington, told him about this country, took him to a Chicago museum just to show him a dinosaur. I showed that kid how to ski down a mountain when he was seven, and now all he does is look at that damn phone.
“I will set the guide fence on the saw, but you need to keep an eye on the plank as we guide it through.”
“I don’t like this saw, it’s noisy and I’m kinda scared of it. Can’t you get someone else to help.”
“No, I got you. Afraid you might learn something, huh. Just keep your eyes on the board, it needs to go straight and not bind the blade or she’ll kick back. Now, son look at me, are you ready?”
“Whatever… all-knowing father. Wisest man on the planet!”
Smart ass ain’t he. Got that from me. Only way I’d know he’s my kid. Ain’t got a lick a sense. Start this saw up, and then I don’t need to listen to his disrespectful mouth.
I motion to him to keep the board near the fence, he is shaking a little. Or maybe it’s that damn phone vibrating. I keep pushing at a nice steady speed, watching the fence, watching the board. Darn it! There’s a knot in the board. I should have looked at it. Gonna pop out, kid didn’t put his goggles on. I motion to him about his goggles and point to the knot. “Your goggles not the phone cover your eyes.” I keep putting one hand up to show him. Does he think I’m gonna call him while I’m pushin this board through. Here comes the knot, and there goes the knot, right up to his forehead. He’s not bleeding, gonna be fine.
“I’m done dad. I’m not helping no more. I going to Kaitlyn’s house.”
“Son, I need you here.”
“I’m not staying here cutting these stupid boards and doing whatever you want. I’m nineteen and I got a life. I’m going to Kaitlyn’s.”
“You know son, you got yourself a nice girl. She’s got a good head on her shoulders, and she’s pretty. What are you going to do when she’s done school and moves on?”
“Thanks for the slap and the compliment. That’s what I love about you dad— can’t say something nice without saying something bad.”
“I’m not supposed to be your friend, I’m your father.”
 I need that kid and he’s not here. How am I going finish this. I just sit sometimes thinking about my boy. I need my boy. I need my boy. I need him. Stop crying you baby. I need him, God bring him back. Why’d you take him. I wasn’t done teaching him, not even close, had so much more to do and you stole him. Gimmie back my boy. Every time I sit on this deck, I hear those sirens going… I think about him. I hated that phone, I hated it so much I wanted to smash it with my hammer. Hate it Hate it… I can see myself striking it, watching the pieces fly into the air, but it never changes, he’s gone. I wasn’t done coaching you boy. You know I tried, you know it, I tried always every day, I kept trying to show you something, wanted you to be ready, more ready than me. Every father wants that… every dad, always wants their kids to be better than themselves. I kept telling him don’t talk and text on that phone while you’re driving. His mother bought him that phone, I was against it, and now she’s damned for it too. It was just a drive back from the market, he was just going to Kaitlyn’s. She was just going to the market, she be back soon. I hear them now, maybe that’s her car, maybe they’re getting a second chance. Them sirens blaring again, who is it now? This deck was for me and her, she liked a little wine in the evenings and watching the sunset, it was all for her. Now they’re both gone, and it’s just me and little Lisa. How do I tell her, her mom’s never coming back?
Dear god, how do I tell her… that her brother killed her mother?

Copyright © 2015 Artemis J Jones

6 comments:

Jess Nolan said...

This is such a good piece of writing! I love the internal monologue of the father and the son's attitude seems on point for his character. I was worrying that maybe the saw would cut his hand off (because of the damn phone!) but then I get whiplash as you find out he hasn't just had a car accident, but killed his mother at the same time. It's made me go totally cold!Brilliant writing, had be intrigued all the way! :)

Anita said...

How ironic is it that right below this post was an ad for U.S. Cellular Wireless?

Sadly there are too many true stories out there too similar to this.

A lot of heart in this one! Loved it.

Artemis J Jones said...

Thank you both for the comments. Also thanks about notifying me on the add. I have allowed technology adds,but a cell add on this story is not what I want on my blog.

Brent Hightower said...

I like the way you use dialogue. It isn't a skill that may writers possess really, and it is one that really separates good writing from bad. Keep up your work.

Artemis J Jones said...

Thanks Brent

Steve B Howard said...

I liked the brevity and sudden shift in time in the middle of the story. You used the dialogue very nicely to move the story along. Also, the questions about where the blame lies or if anyone should be blamed added a lot of depth and power to the story.