The Reaper

The Reaper

Status: Finished

Genre: Other

Houses:

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Other

Houses:

Summary

Life carries on...
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Summary

Life carries on...

Content

Submitted: May 10, 2017

A A A | A A A

Content

Submitted: May 10, 2017

A A A

A A A


The Reaper

Quinton B. McKinney

 

The old man knew his time was getting shorter. He glanced over and observed his wife lightly snoring in the seat beside him, rocking gently with the bouncing of the moving vehicle. They had just locked up their house and were heading south for the winter season, trying to beat the cold weather. Midwest winters could be brutal. Mac had called his sons and told them to keep an eye on the place while they were away, and they both agreed. He didn’t say how long they were going to be gone, it was better if they didn’t know.  The constant droning hum of the trucks tires coupled with the occasional cadence caused by the ruts in the highway from all the years of eighteen wheeler traffic, Mac understood why his wife was sleeping; he was getting drowsy himself.

 “One, maybe two years” was what the doctor had told him. Mac had never gone to the doctor for anything, saying “I’m one of those old country boys. Ain’t nothing wrong that a little whiskey can’t fix.” But his wife had convinced him to go and get checked out when he was tired all the time and was beginning to have spells of forgetfulness. She really got worried when he stopped riding his motorcycles. “You can’t keep putting this off, Honey” Jackie had told him. “Maybe you just need some vitamins.” He loved his wife’s optimism; she could find a silver lining in a tornado.  Old Mac wished that vitamins could fix what was ailing him; or better yet whiskey. All the years of hard work for what…

His pocket buzzed about the same time the volume on the radio lowered, signaling that he had an incoming call. Mac pressed the answer button on the steering wheel ‘Whassup?’

“Hey dad” the voice came across the speakers so clear that it sounded as if the person was sitting in the back seat. “We found it, the journal.” Jason sounded like he had been crying for hours, his voice raspy and choked. “We didn’t know you were sick…”

Mac picked up the phone and disconnected the Bluetooth, “Your mother doesn’t know and I would appreciate it if she don’t find out like this” he said tersely. He rubbed his left temple in small circular motions. Inhaling through his nose and slowly exhaling through his mouth, he continued “I wanted to break the news to her when we got settled in, maybe a day or two. How did you find out?”

“Joshua and I were moving some of your old books, you know, to use your study as a gaming room and spare bedroom. I went downstairs to find a snack and accidentally moved the bar. I’m sorry” Jason finished.

Mac was concentrating on driving so intently that all he caught was “books, gaming, bar, sorry.” He hated when other people talked on the phone while driving and here he was doing the very thing that would send him into a tirade.  Although he only picked up on certain keywords of the conversation, that was enough. “I was going to let you all know about the bunkers in a few days. We’ll talk later about this, I’m driving and your mother is waking up.”

“Okay, have a safe trip and call as soon as you get there. Tell mom I said hi.” Then the connection was broken.

“Where are we now?” Jackie asked in a voice which sounded like she just left the dentists’ office after having dental work.

“About fifty miles south of Little Rock, Arkansas” Mac replied putting on his right turn signal. “Are you ready to stretch your legs a little?”

“Yes and maybe grab a few snacks; I’m getting kind of hungry. How long was I asleep?” Yawning and stretching, Jackie shifted her weight making herself more comfortable.

An impish smirk sneaked across Macs lips “you went to sleep shortly after I backed out of the driveway.”

 

Staring at his reflection in the mirror, Mac summed up the situation at hand; tell Jackie about the tumor, tell the kids, get on with life. It sounded cold and calloused when he put it that way but there wasn’t a need to sugar coat the facts. The doctor had given him “two or three years, at the most;” and he didn’t plan on wasting a lot of time wallowing in self-pity nor did he want his family all droopy faced and tiptoeing on eggshells on his behalf. ”I came into this world kicking and screaming; I plan on going out the same way.”

Mac didn’t know if it was the fact that a six-foot- six, two hundred and fifty pound man was talking to himself or the statement of kicking and screaming that caused the guy in one of the stalls to leave hastily. It was apparent from the wet spot on his khakis that he didn’t wait to finish his task at hand; which made Mac laugh harder than he had laughed in months since getting diagnosed. Ah, the simple things in life…

A single teardrop fell from her lashes. Mac caught it in his palm, gazing in amazement at how it reflected the orange glow of the evening sun. “When were you going to tell me?” was all she could muster; never looking up at him.

Blabbermouth; I knew Jason couldn’t keep a secret. He also knew that Jackie and the kids shared a special bond; she always seemed to know when something was amiss with one of them. She must have called to check on him and he spilled his guts. He couldn’t have told her much Mac thought because I didn’t put everything in the journal. Or did I? He rubbed his temple trying to find the right words to use. Sliding the food away from them on the table, the gentle giant slid into the booth next to his little guardian angel. He stared out the truck stop window for a moment, took a deep breath and recited the story starting with the doctors’ visit. “So I figured we would chase warm weather as long as we can” Mac finished. His head had stopped throbbing but now his eyes were stinging from forcing back the tears.

“Excuse me sir. I haven’t eaten in days, could you spare some change?” Mac looked up from his thought travels and noticed the gaunt face of the gentleman asking for a handout. He looked tired and weather worn; his hair disheveled but finger combed as if he attempted to make himself presentable before approaching. There was a mixture of weariness and compassion in his eyes which made Mac recall something he had read in his youth  Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  “Here, you can have this” he said sliding the burgers and fries to the man.

“God bless you” the man said, taking the food to another booth and sliding into it. Mac was watching as the man began devouring the meal, shoving french fries into his mouth as fast as he could. He felt a warm kiss on his cheek, “that’s why I love you so much” Jackie said squeezing his arm. “Let’s get these last miles behind us.”

“I agree. I really wasn’t hungry anyway” standing and stretching Mac wanted to get back on the road and lost in his thoughts again, the sooner the better. This break was just what he needed to feel rejuvenated. Taking his wife by the hand, he helped her from the booth and they walked toward the exit.  After playfully hoisting Jackie into the pickup truck, he closed the door and walked around to the back visually inspecting the tires as he went. This was a habit he had picked up while riding motorcycles for decades and had never lost it. He hopped in the driver’s seat, started the engine and put the vehicle in gear; pointing it in a southwestern direction and merging into the oncoming traffic. The sun was just beginning to turn the sky a reddish hue, blue being the base color of its canvas with wisps of clouds accenting the scene. No worries, Man he thought to himself as he turned on the radio; perfect timing to catch the opening riff to an old tune:

All our times have come
Here but now they're gone
Seasons don't fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain
We can be like they are
Come on baby... Don't fear the Reaper
Baby take my hand... Don't fear the Reaper
We'll be able to fly... Don't fear the Reaper
Baby I'm your man...
La la la la la
Valentine is done
Here but now they're gone
Romeo and Juliet
Are together in eternity...
Romeo and Juliet
40,000 men and women everyday... Like Romeo and Juliet
40,000 men and women everyday... Redefine happiness
Another 40,000 coming everyday...We can be like they are
Come on baby... Don't fear the Reaper
Baby take my hand... Don't fear the Reaper
We'll be able to fly... Don't fear the Reaper
Baby I'm your man...
Love of two is one
Here but now they're gone
Came the last night of sadness
And it was clear she couldn't go on
Then the door was open and the wind appeared
The candles blew and then disappeared
The curtains flew and then he appeared
Saying don't be afraid
Come on baby... And she had no fear
And she ran to him... And they started to fly
They looked backward and said goodbye
She had become like they are
She had taken his hand
She had become like they are
Come on baby...don't fear the reaper
Come on, come on, come on
La la la la la
Come on, baby
Come on, baby
Come on, baby
Come on, baby

 

Blue Öyster Cult

“Don’t Fear the Reaper”


© Copyright 2017 Q.B. McKinney. All rights reserved.

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