I wrote this shorty as an idea for a novel I’m thinking about. I wanted to leave it here for everyone to read and to tell me what they think. (Please use the comment section below.) Also, I need everyone to share this so I can get as much feedback as possible. Please do. This doesn’t get out and about if nobody shares it. (Hello, “Short Stories 4 u 2 Share” .com) Here is the shorty of the idea. Let me know. Really.
As I took a long breath my dad sat into his single seat porch swing with a glowing smile. He looked out onto the fields of wheat that grew on the farm since his great-greats owned and tilled the land. I watched him with another sigh as I sat into my favorite rocking chair that I turned so to look out into those fields and just so I can see him with a slight turn of my head. This day has finally come. Although saddened by the situation, I was finally relieved. My heart was no longer heavy with pain and worry. I became sad, happy, and bursting with so many more emotions. My eyes gave me away as tears overflowed. I felt them swell as I began to rub them.
His smile was wide. I saw nothing but clarity and happiness in his eyes. He looked at me and moved his hand toward my knee as he had always done when he wanted to comfort me or give me fatherly advice. He withdrew his hand and nodded with a bigger smile that radiated from his eyes as he acknowledged my look. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and held it as if he was trying to allow the scent of the ripening wheat permeate his senses. He let out his breath and said to me, “Finally. My mind is clear. No more confusion, anger, or stress. From this day forth, each day will have clarity, meaning, and love. Thank you, son, for everything.”
My smile beamed with pride knowing just what he was talking about. I said to him, “I’ve always loved you, Dad. I did everything I possibly could to make those times as comfortable and as painless as possible.”
He nodded at me, “I know, Kerry. I remember now. I also remember you tried real hard not to take those jobs, but I know they were necessary. People need you. The happiness you brought them,” he chuckled and shook his head as he tried to find the words for what he was trying to say, “makes me proud. Made your mother proud too.” With that, I saw the sadness brim over his face. He wiped a tear and sniffed, “I missed her time. Shame.”
I softly said to him, “No regrets, Dad.”
He choked and sobbed. He placed his face into his hands and rested his elbows onto his knees. He cried. I let him. He needed this release of emotion before he had to go. I wanted to comfort him, place my hand upon his shoulder, but I couldn’t. I remained in my chair and began to rock slightly. Tears broke. I was sobbing with him. I remember when she left, he wasn’t there. He couldn’t. She made me promise not to allow him to feel guilty for it either. It wasn’t like it was his fault. He just didn’t know. I tried to tell him when she left, but he didn’t understand at the moment, and his thoughts went back to the time when it all had gone bad.
“Dad, she knew. She completely knew. She was thankful that I was willing to step in when she no longer could. She said so. She made sure to say it. She wanted me to tell you that she loved you.”
He broke down even more, “Thank you, Kerry. Thank you for that. I’m so glad you stayed. You make me so proud. I’m also so very proud of you for being there when she left.”
My mother’s smile came over me. I smiled to my father with the same warmth and love I had felt from my mother at that moment, “Thank you, Dad. I couldn’t live with myself if I hadn’t been here then or even now.”
He lifted his face, wiping the tears away with a smile, “I know, son. That’s just the person you are. That’s the man we raised you to be. No regrets about that, Kerry.” He laughed at me with a gleam of pride in his eyes. He then turned to look back out onto the fields and took a breath. After a moment of enjoying the sun upon his face, he asked, “What are your plans now, Kerry? I hope you don’t plan on giving up your job.”
I laughed at the thought, “Oh, no. Frank would never let me do that. He would haunt me for the rest of my days. I mean the poltergeist kind of haunt too. From throwing dishes to blood on the walls kind of haunt.”
My father burst out laughing at the thought of it, “I bet he would.” He continued laughing for a moment. Then a thought came to him, “Hey. How come he’s not here?”
I sighed, “He’s here. He’s just waiting for me inside. He doesn’t want to be in the way of our goodbyes.”
He gave a knowing nod. He looked at me with seriousness, “You know, we are sorry for those years when you started talking to Frank. We just thought it was some kind of insanity thing. I mean, I’d say look at him, but you know where we were coming from. Right?”
I looked to ceiling of the porch incredulously, “Dad. We’ve been over this a hundred times. I understand. I told you. I agreed when you had me put into that hospital. I needed to know for myself that I wasn’t crazy or a lunatic. I was going nuts when I found out about Frank. I was scared to death. That hospital was a relief. Frank was there to help me see that I was not going nuts. As a matter of fact, you and Mom found out how crazy I wasn’t. When you accepted it, I accepted it. My life became…” I shrugged at him, “better.”
He shrugged at me with some apprehension showing in his look. Then he said, “Still. I’m sorry it happened. Thank Frank one more time for me.”
I nodded happily and softly answered, “I will.” I began rocking back and forth with a little more enthusiasm, “I’m not going to quit my job, Dad. I hope you forgive me for his, but I made a deal with the Lopez’s. I couldn’t think of a finer family for this, and I actually am glad to make this happen for them. They’re buying the farm.”
My dad abruptly stopped swinging and looked at me in surprise. A smile formed and I saw tear threaten to fall, “You did? Raul? Do you know that he and I had spoken about that very idea years ago? Anita and the kids deserve it. Raul deserves it! Wow. He’s the hardest working person in town. Everyone loves him. He does so much for the folks. Wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes mayor of this town. You better remind him I said that.”
I laughed with the thought, “I’ll tell him. I made him promise to let me keep my apartment in the barn in case I needed it. Ya know.”
He nodded thoughtfully, “Yeah. I guess with your job, you will.”
My job may have me back by next week the way it’s going right now.
My dad shifted his body towards me and waved his arms, “Now. Enough with all that. Let’s talk about something, or rather, some one else.”
I pushed myself back and lifted my legs up for a big swing. Oh, boy. Here it comes! I laughed.
I nodded, “Traci. My wife.”
He asked with that look all dads give their sons when it comes to women, “About time. Now. What does she know? And!” he raised a finger, “How long after I leave will I be Ganddad?”
There it is! The dreaded talk. Wait. He remembered her pregnancy from the one time I told him? He grinned, “I wasn’t always out of my mind during that time.”
I shook my head and wondered at the thought, “She’s four months, Dad. It’s a girl. She will be named Kaylynn Darcie McDunnell. After Mom. Traci chose the name.” I firmly stated, “She gave me no choice. She loved her very much. When Mom left Traci broke down. It’s her way of keeping her here.”
My dad swelled with pride, “That young lady is a jewel. I can’t believe she fell for you.”
I laughed at his crack at me, but I knew he was right. Traci was beauiful gem. I smiled, “She knows about Frank. To her, my job is what will make our daughter proud. I just hope she doen’t meet someone like Frank.”
My dad nodded in agreement, “At least you would be prepared if she does.” Then he gave me an evil grin, “Then threaten to have her committed.”
I laughed hard, “Oh, that is so bad, Dad!”
He said to me while laughing, “Don’t tell Traci I said that!”
“Believe me. I won’t!”
He cleared his throat. He askd me thoughtfuly, “She really knows about your job? I mean, it’s a lot to handle. The days you won’t be home. The thought of what would happen if things don’t go right. There’s a lot of risk you’re going to be involved in. Now with a child, the risks are greater. You know. The job has a way of getting them involved.”
I nodded in agreement, “Yes. She’s aware. Our home is protected in such a case. I’m just scared that things don’t go as predicted if the job goes south.”
He gave me a concerned look, “I can only pray that Frank will be of help too.”
At that, our conversation abruptly ended. My dad’s eyes went back to staring onto the fields. The gentle breeze blew the tall grains back and forth. A wash of fresh green smells came over us. I breathed it in and held my breath, as my dad did earlier, and allowed the smell to awash my senses. It was fresh. The air was warm with a slight cool within it. I could almost smell this morning’s dew. The sun shined onto my face as it began to set. I hadn’t realized we had been sitting here that long.
I let my breath go with a sighing moan. It was time. I had to take a firm look at my dad. Not only was I here to see him off, but I was also here to do my job. My dad gave me a knowing glance, “You have a job to do. Don’t you now?”
I nodded with tears, “Yes.”
He smiled, “Thank you. I will always love you, Kieran Gannon McDunnell. Do your job. I’m ready.”
I smiled and cracked ope the small Bible I pulled from my pocket. I lifted my Rosary necklace and waved the sign of the cross at him as I spoke softly my favorite verse of the book of Isaiah chapter 55 verse 12, “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
I watched as bright, white light poured over him. Joy and peace overcame his body. I shielded my eyes as the brightness grew with intensity. Soon, he was gone. Home. With Mom. In peace. I cried.
After a moment, my celestial friend, Frank, passed through the door and stood on the porch in front me. He lit his spectral cigar and blew the ghostly smoke at me. I smelled it and fanned it away with a cough. He cleared his throat, “Sorry.” Frank shifted his feet and I could faintly hear his boots scrape the porch, “You needed to do this alone, Kieran. I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. Just like with your old lady, you had a job to do. This is twice now you’ve done it with dignity. Good. Now. Let’s get going. That crazy ass poltergeist is still calling out for salvationing.”
I shook my head at him, “You do know that’s still not a word, right?”
He shrugged at me as I rose from my chair, “Well, the way you kids nowadays can make up words and have them put in the dictionary, what with all those gadgets and stuff, I’m sure you could do this favor for me and get it put in.”
I shook my head again at him, “Not a chance, Frank.”
He shrugged with disappointment, “Damned twenty-first century kids forgetting their grandaddies.”
I looked at him with annoyance, “You’re not my grandaddy.”
He shrugged, “You never know. I’m old. Older them there fields of wheat you’ve been cultivating. I could be down that line somewhere.”
I left him standing in his statement on the porch, “Not even a leaf, Frank. Now let’s go and stop those evil spirits.”
He puffed his cigar and persued me to the car, “Right.”
Frank was right, I had said my goodbyes and did my job with dignity. My father’s soul needed healing and needed to be sent to be with my mother. After all, I am a spirit guide. An excoricist of sorts. I see spirits, ghosts, or whatever you think to call them. I fight malevolent spirits and send them to Heaven or Hell with peace. Frank is my spritual partner. He’s been assigned to me by someone upstairs to help me maintain spiritual order. I follow Frank’s call to do these jobs. Right now, we were called to work with a priest who’s dealing with a nasty poltergeist. Watch out, Florida. Here I come.
May 15, 2019