Friday, February 27, 2015
It was time to use my “medicine”, my mojo, my special tool to rescue Clay, heck, rescue us all. I jammed my hand into my pocket and withdrew the object that usually called my brother back to reality.
I carried the spent shotgun shell, always, as a reminder and spirit guide. It was from my old 16 gauge, the one meant to send me to a new realm at age 14. It served a fitting symbol of tragedy turned triumph for Clay and I, one celebrating a new formed brotherhood. The gun was traded away for a ball glove that fit me better than the neighbor kid, yah, fit me like a…
I produced the shell and smacked it down on the dash in front of Clay. The lights went on for him and his face softened. Crow’s feet, the kind caused by squinting and laughter, formed in front of his temples. He reached out for it but I pulled it up before my face. His eyes tracked it and finally locked into a state of recognition.
“Clay, you droopy assed ole coot, how the hell are ya man?” I asked in a good humored tone.
“Ain’t It? Where you come from? We go out for some beers and I win a contest or somethun? Musta passed out I guess. Wow dude, I got a real thumper goin’ on in my noggin,” said Clay.
His Favorite Gal twirled her finger round and round, a signal to keep up the ruse, and walked back to the house to wait for us.
“Yes, yes, you won again buddy. When will I learn I can’t out drink you? So anyhoo, we sang our way to the car and took a nap. I woke up first as always. Yup, I got into town, met you at our hangout, and the rest is history as they say.”
“Who’s they? Anyways, you got my fish jerky? I got munchies goin’ on,” says Clay.
I reached into the back seat, produced an open brown sack, and offered it to my friend. He put his hand in and monkey fisted the cellophane wrapped item. Unwrapping it, he hawk eyed me.
“Fudge! Man, you…you…ah man, I can’t remember my line Ain’t It.”
“That’s okay brother. We’re both getting old and lame brained. Here, I got the real deal for ya.”
My brother didn’t seem to hear me. Eyes closed, he rubbed his temples with fingers sporting bright orange spots. His hands dropped to his thighs then slapped together.
“YouPee Apple! That’s it! That’s what you are Ain’t It,” yelled Clay, gleeful and relieved.
I was too. Yup, he was back. Tears washed over my eyes as I looked at my friend, my pitiful but still loveable friend.
I handed Clay the fish Jerky and suggested we go inside so I could get my stuff unpacked. He agreed. Clay went to the house while I pulled my travel case from the trunk. His Special Gal opened the door for Clay and held it for me. Fresh coffee was in the air and it did a waltz with my trepidation.
I plunked my case down by the door and joined Clay and his gracious companion at a messy dining table. The pan of steamy coffee sat on a holey pot holder in the center of the tabletop and I broke the silence.
“You know why I’m here Clay? You remember the call you made to me yesterday?”