Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Father's Day: A Dialogue (Part One)

And now, the short first chapter of a Father's Day entry story entitled... well... "Father's Day." I originally posted this four-parter in June of 2009. I'll be running the four chapters every few days until part four arrives on June 19th, Father's Day. Hope you like it.
* * * * *


I rarely get to bed before two or three in the morning, but Saturday night, I was so damned tired that I left the poker game -- and roughly $700 dollars that were mine when I'd walked in -- at shortly after nine. I went straight home, opened and guzzled most of a cold beer, threw on some pajamas, smoked the night's final cigarette, finished the beer, and hit the sheets before ten.

I'd set up my CD player to help me drift off with random selections by Sonny Stitt, Lady Day, a little Bird, some Slim Gaillard, some Dexter Gordon... you get the picture. I was sawing wood in only a few minutes.

It wasn't long after midnight, however, that my eyes snapped open, acting on some sort of instinct. I saw a shadowy figure, slightly hunched over, seated at the foot of my bed. Startled, I screamed, even as my hand shot out to grab my cigarette lighter off of the nightstand.

In the flickering light of my Zippo, I saw who my visitor was. It was my Dad.

"Hello, Wayne," he said, all too matter-of-factly.

"What on earth are you doing here, after all this time?"

"I wanted to talk."

"That's a first. And your timing isn't exactly impeccable." My eyes searched for the digital clock on my bureau. "It's past midnight. Just."

"You don't seem too surprised to see me, considering..."

"No? Hell, I screamed, didn't I? What more do you want?"

"I'm sorry about the lateness of the hour, but..." He hesitated.

I got out of bed, and snapped on the tall lamp next to my nightstand. "But what?"

"Well, I showed up when I did for a reason. Today -- and I mean 'today' as of a few minutes ago -- is Father's Day."

"So what? Even if it was so all-fired important we talk on Father's Day, noon would have been just as good!"

"You're not going to wish me a Happy Father's Day?"

"You're kidding, right? No. No, I'm not. Were you planning on wishing me one?" Now it was his turn to look surprised. "I mean, you do know I have two daughters, right? Just because their mother took them when she left me four years ago..."

"Of course I know about them. You just caught me off guard, that's all."

"Fine. We're even. And I'm awake, so... What do you want to talk about?" I reached for the lighter again, only this time it was to light a cigarette from the pack I picked up at the same time.

"Us," said my Dad. "All of us."

"All, meaning...?"

"You, me, your mother, your brother. Our family."

"What do you care about our family? You walked out of our lives thirty-two years ago, when I was only nine, and Matty was fourteen."

"I don't blame you for being angry..."

"That's just it. I'm not. Truth be told, it was probably the best thing you could have done for Mom. Not for Matty and me, necessarily, but... I'm not angry."

"Then what are you feeling?"

"What are you, my psychologist? You never asked me questions like that when I was a kid."

"That's not the type of question I would have asked you when you were nine, or younger."

"Okay," I agreed, "but it's not like we ever had any heart-to-heart conversations. So why now?"

"You weren't ready before now."

"I wasn't? What about you?"

He ignored that. "There were things about your mother and myself that you didn't know about, say, at twenty... And things you still wouldn't have understood at twenty-five, or thirty, because of your lack of... certain life experiences."

"But in your humble opinion, I can understand those 'things' now? That's rather condescending, isn't it? Anyway, why do you have to justify yourself to me? Why don't you talk to Mom?"

"That's an odd thing to say."

"Why? Just because she died a year ago? I still talk to her, once in a while. The conversation's a bit one-sided, admittedly, but... Anyway, if I can talk to the dead, I know you can!"

"Look, Wayne, I'll admit that I made mistakes where your mother was concerned..."

"Mistakes? Is that what you called those... women? Mistakes? I hope you didn't call them that to their faces."

"There weren't that many. You make it sound like there were dozens!"

"Look who's getting defensive. What was the number, Dad? Or do you even remember?" He didn't answer. "You're pathetic, you know that?"

He sighed. "Look, Wayne, can we get out of here? Go for a walk?"

"At half-past midnight? In this neighborhood? Or do you have some magic powers that can protect us?"

"We'll be okay."

"Why do we have to go out anyway?" I gestured with the hand that held the almost-finished cigarette. "Is the smoke getting to you? Or do you just need some fresh air in general?" He shook his head, and didn't reply. "I guess those were both rhetorical questions anyway, right?" He still didn't answer. "Fine. Whatever. But you want to know something?"

"What's that?"

"You're more irritating now than when you were alive."

* * * * *

And, on that note, fellow babies... See you soon!

Thanks for your time.

17 comments:

  1. Wasn't expecting that last line... can't wait! :)

    Susan at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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  2. This first part certainly has me intrigued, and I look forward to the next parts. My first wife ran me off after seven years of marriage to be with someone much more financially stable, and I resolved to stay away from our daughters to save them from the drama. My plan was to try to reconnect with them after they had reached adulthood and be better able to understand what happened. What I did not plan for was their mother telling them that she ran me off because of being a drunk and a womanizer. They grew up to hate me and now do not want anything to do with me. There are witnesses to the fact that I was not a drunk and womanizer back then, but I do not want to destroy their relationship with their mother. So, we remain estranged.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry that while you decided to take the high road, as it were, that your ex would tell vicious lies about you.

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    2. By the way, Jerry, as you'll learn in Chapter Three, Wayne's dad's name is Jerry also. Please keep in mind that I wrote this story back in 2009, before I knew you.

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    3. Okay, I will give you the benefit of the doubt this time, but I know how you slick sliver foxes work...

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  3. Excellent, as your writing always is.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why, thank you. Hope the next three chapters don't disappoint you.

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  4. Intriguing! I look forward to the rest of it. Though, personally I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it. My Daddy had some issues, but was all around a good daddy and husband. My stepfather was a real stand-up guy. But my two sisters had a daddy that came back from WWII and thought he wanted something "other". Mama told me many years later he came and asked to come back. Mama told him that her and the girls had learned to live without him. He'd better stay with Lucille and the child she was carrying.
    Barbara from Life & Faith in Caneyhead

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    Replies
    1. Hope you like the remaining episodes.

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  5. Quite the amount of issues there. Never expected the last line. Turn on the fan and blow him away lol

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    Replies
    1. The ghostly dad may not be so easy to send away. :)

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  6. Very cool! I'm hooked already and looking forward to the next portion. Don't make us wait too long!

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