Ryan Hanney

The man on the hill ate some bad ecstasy the night before the school janitor hung himself and died screaming in the night after he lit himself on fire. His son discovered him smoldering under the ash tree in the field at the bottom of the hill. He dropped to his knees and cried great, heaving sobs for the man he'd never gotten to know. He tried to call an ambulance, but his cell phone was flat. He walked up to the house and found that his father, in his drug-induced rage, had cut all of the phone lines. Now he was walking along the road, wishing he had hauled his father's body up to the house instead of leaving it lying under the tree where animals could pick at it. He had seven more miles to go before he reached town. He remembered when his father had lost his job, then cut the memory off because it was boring and would make for a shitty story. He resolved not to do ecstasy anymore, he decided that he was going to go back to school, he vowed that he would stop drinking and beating his wife, whom he had secretly married while on some strange black pills that had been given to them by his friend Maurice. Just then, a highway cop stopped him and told him that hitchhiking was illegal, and he wondered why he hadn't taken the car. He told the cop about his father, and the cop said, "Serves the fucker right. He was always an asshole to me."

Published in Out/Words #3 (view contents)
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