Categories > Original > Drama > On the Job0 Reviews
ONE-SHOT: Two men just going through the normal day. A sad father and dead daughter play a heavy role in those "ordinary" events of the "average" day.
Tall stalks waved outside the windows of the car, swaying in the wind with an almost childish joy. The white hunk of metal stood out amongst the endless rows of yellow. Two men, both in uniform, a radio murmuring in the background, filled the interior.
"Tuck in your shirt and stop eatin' them donuts so fast."
A muffled reply filled with jelly and strawberry frosting landed all over the speaker's lap.
"And close yer mouth when you eat." The other watched him, swallowed, his shirt still not tucked in, hat askew, and a lofty smile in place.
"I think the jelly one's taste better'n the cream ones."
The first sat up straighter, badge shining, the reflection thrown on the windshield and his cross necklace swinging from the sudden movement. With pride he prepared to begin his lecture about proper etiquette and priorities only to be cut off by a loud radio report.
"On the top of the hour we have a report that six-year-old Vanessa Turner was killed in freak accident at her home in Midfolk. The father, forty-two-year-old James Turner, is a suspect and fled the scene in a red pick-up truck. If seen, notify the authorities immediately. Farmer Johns and his still missing scarecrow -"
"I don't want to hear 'bout something like that. It's only a couple a towns away too."
"I got a vanilla donut if it a make you feel better."
His prim partner only looked with disgust at the very last donut of a dozen.
"How do you eat 'em all?"
"If I eat 'em fast, then I got enough room for more later."
As though to prove his point he stuffed the final donut into his mouth, chewing openly with a thoughtful expression.
"Yup, jelly's much better."
With a sigh the other flipped the radio on again, letting the words flow over him. Watching corn grow was more interesting than listening to his partner compare various flavors of donuts. It was not long before the Chief's voice crackled over the other radio.
"Got a incident out by ol' Mack's farm. Better check it out, over."
"Roger that." Replied the driver, his partner ignoring the radio and him in favor of the donuts.
With a click the radio fell silent and the officer stuck his keys into the ignition.
"Wonder if we can stop off 'ta get somethin'."
"Don't count on it."
With a downcast face, the heavier man turned back to the empty box in his lap, picking at the left over powder and blobs of cream.
"You sure you can't just -"
"Oh, I'm sure."
The pair headed down the unchanging road, each side flanked by oceans of grain, each as identical as the last. An occasional tree dotted the dull dirt road, but it was sucked into the horizon far too fast.
As they passed a farm, then more yellow stalks, a wreck came into view.
The driver whistled to his jelly-loving partner, "What happened here?"
A smashed up pick-up truck appeared to have rammed itself head-on into a rotting oak tree. The entire front was mutilated beyond belief and still smoked from the exertion. The tree was cracked along its width and seemed to lean on the large car, like an elderly man on his walking stick. Outside the destroyed car, seated on the ground, was a pale, middle-aged man with balding hair mumbling to himself.
Both uniformed men stepped out of the car, one putting the donut box on the seat without peeling his eyes away from the ruined piece of metal.
The other took off his hat and crouched by the seated man, a look of concern and shock permanently etched onto his features. "What happened?"
The shaking man spoke with nervous bursts of words, "I-I, needed to. It wasn't on purpose. I'd swear by my mama's soul. I-I, was a mistake. Swear it. Poor Ness, poor Ness."
"Ness? What was the mistake? What did you mean to do?"
The heavier man approached the car, with almost a fatalistic caution, awed by the perfect disaster of metal, wood, and a life narrowly spared.
"I-I, s-she, I-I failed. Not a scratch, not a d-damn scratch, but Ness..."
He trailed off again, unable to finish, seeming to shrink into the very dirt.
The officer put his hat on the ground, glanced from the torn up car, to his partner, then back to the man. "Ness, eh? She might'n been six, right?"
Long painful sobs of someone lost. They filled the car, the tree, the officers, everything. It was the cry of a lost father, of a man who could not make sense of anything he had done. It was so wretched, so horrible, it made the crouched man take a slight step back, unsure if any words could even begin to console.
"I didn't die! But she did! That ain't fair! No, it ain't fair!"
And then he stopped. It was like everything became so clear. No tears slipped down the muddy face, no sound broke from parched lips. He did not move, he barely seemed to breathe. It was a frightening thing to behold, inhuman to the worst extent.
Old donut boxes were shifted aside as a broken man took up the back seat. His own mind had driven him into shock. Humans were really the bane of humans.
The drive was filled with the most morbid silence. The hum of the car seemed to blend into a dream, where no matter what happened it was logical. The trance of the father held him in a seemingly half-conscious state, so lost to himself. The wary uniformed men did not rush though. They did not slow either. Time seem to be disconnected for the moment.
The little town was in motion as the car drove up. All sorts of people wandering about, it seemed sinful to be so content. They stepped out of the car, moving to help the man out, only to find him on his side, head to the heated leather, not a breath escaping.
"I - " The officer could find no words. He took off his hat, settling it on the sidewalk and sat on the curb. The cross necklace glimmered and laid still.
His partner stood off to the side watching. His eyes turned to the seemingly sleeping man.
The report had been awful to write. There was no way to describe the father, he being so beyond the scope of human. The officer had taken to cleaning the back seat, in an effort to scrub out the morose mood with lemon-scented suds. But the mood seemed to hold when the officers slipped in for the daily patrols. His partner though, took to eating only cream or plain donuts. He never touched the jellies anymore, as though fearing the memory they brought up.
They never drove by that old stump, the broken tree having been hauled away. The air nearby was too filled with all that had happened there. No plants grew from that stump. The air weighed them down too much to grow, and so the scar remained for all to see. A tribute to father and daughter.