Got the news straight from the horse’s ass. No fucking around at all. Dr. pull-no-punches, straight arrow motherfucker.
“The cancer done got you, boy. Got you good from asshole to elbows. Not much we can do, but wave to you as you go.”
“How about, chemo, radiation, experimental—“
“How about six to eight weeks to go? How about that?”
Doc looks bored like he got something else he needs to be doing, somewhere else he needs to be.
“Pain, will there be a lot of pain?”
“Oh, yeah. You got that in spades, you know, the shovels they gonna dig your grave with. But, I’m Dr. Feelgood. Brother, I can make you pain-free at a price.”
“You know the word and got the price.”
We got nothing else to say to each other. I leave. He don’t say goodbye.
She don’t say hello.
“What you doing home this time of day. You been fired? You look fucked up.”
Grab her by the ass. Grab her by the tits. Drag her to our bed
“Negro, have you lost your mind? You are fucked up.”
“Lost everything. Nothing left to lose.”
She come with me. She cum with me.
“Six weeks! Nigger, please! Don’t play me like that.”
I stroke her stomach, kiss her chin, her eyes.
“I got to go see the kid. Say hello. Say goodbye.”
The next day 2,000 miles away.
“Hello, boy. You done got tall, rangy, old around the eyes.”
“Dad, are you OK? You look tired.”
“Not too tired to out-fish you. Grab us a couple of poles.”
“It’s a school day. I got band and football and—“
“Well, I see. If you scared… I can understand that. Last time…”
He’s back with two poles in a flash.
“You was just lucky old man. Last time was luck not skill.”
I get him back in time for band and football.
“Dad, will you pick me up after school?”
“Not this time. I got an early flight.”
He looks at me. He knows. Tries not to cry. Hugs me. I hold him for a minute. Sends him on to band and football.
“He’s looking good. You looking good. Thanks for letting me see him on short notice.”
“Did you see him practice? He looks like you about the eyes.”
“Tell him I will keep in touch. Tell him that.”
“Yeah, tell him about the time we got stranded on the roof after you kicked down the ladder. Tell him about that too.”
“The whole story? You want me to tell him the whole story?”
I kiss her on the forehead. Look her in the eyes.
“He couldn’t have a better mother. I told him that.”
“What you packing for?’
“Where is us going?”
“Us, is going to the ocean.
“Cause, I want to see the ocean with you.”
“I don’t like the ocean. I like the desert.”
“My week to choose.”
“Hey, woman, I should get to choose. Next week I may be too weak to choose.”
“Good, then I will get to choose for you.”
“You’re an evil, mean ass, black woman. How can you treat me like this?”
“Ain’t no treat. You pay every step of the way.
“Well, living with you sure ain’t been no treat. That’s for sure.”
“Can you drive?”
“Drive you crazy or up the wall, and I can drive the damn car too.”
“Yeah, you have almost drove me over the edge. You done plenty of that. You drive. You keep your eyes on the road and your hands to yourself. Got it?”
“Got it. You ain’t no fun anymore.”
“You want to take Highway One?”
“Yeah, yeah I would like that.”
“Quit complaining woman. We ain’t in the car yet.”
Highway One is ocean and green and winding and slow and, I don’t keep my hands to myself.
I do enjoy the ocean with her.