The Desert Songbook

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story I wrote about a boy and his father just before bed...

Submitted: June 22, 2008

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Submitted: June 22, 2008



"The desert highlands were filled with the bones of men like me. Foolish adventurers meddling with forces beyond their control, caught between their lust for full pockets and their mortality. The multitudes, huddled in squat tents, smoking and drinking, caused me to doubt the spiritual quality mankind possesses. Their unfeeling and unthinking dispositions persuade sympathy from the deepest regions of the inner gut. They'd stare, with beady eyes, to a rock, or a desert lizard, or another man, hoping to see the fortunes they crave spring forth like a geyser from the innards of the planet. " I looked down at my son's face, and he looked up at mine. We both then looked on at the sky above us, to the constellations, the moon, the wispy hair-like clouds that fluttered over us. It was no Hollywood hotel, but it wasn't Hell.

"Finish the story daddy, please" He said, grinning.

"Okay," I smirked into the darkness surrounding us and began my short tale again."At night they'd shoot their guns towards the moon, hoping to land a shot and catch some falling dust. Once a man claimed to have actually found this magic dust, then proceeded to parade it around the camps like it was pure Aztec gold, looking for a sap dim enough to buy it. Eventually he came across a boy, traveling with his father, who hadn't yet lost the shimmer from his eyes. He sold the dust to him for two dollars and a canteen of whiskey; but before the deal was done, the boy's father stepped between them. The argument that followed cost the moon dust salesman his left eye and a few teeth, but all funds were repaid and all canteens returned in full, plus the moon dust was the boy's to keep. It stayed there, in its glass jar, for many years, until the boy left it next to a cactus somewhere along a trail."

"The boy lost it? I thought that dust...was all he had."

"He didn't need it anymore, son."

"Why...not?" He yawned.

"He started growing up, I gue..." I stopped. His eyes had slid shut and his gentle snoring vibrated the small space his head occupied on my chest. I combed his hair from his face and pulled our small blanket over him. I looked up again at the dark desert sky, counted the stars, just to make sure they were all there; pointed my trigger finger to the biggest star of them all, and pulled.

"Bang." And then sweet slumber took me too.

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