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Vignettes Regarding the Artwork of Brendon Kotes

LVIII: Yesteryears

A bust went down that September. Late. Humidity giving a last hurrah as it burned across the growing corn fields and shivered burgeoning pumpkin patches. Cops swarmed Ol’ North Main like ants on a sugar spoon, wrapping cuffs about old and young alike with little regard to uncles and grand-daddy’s.

Casey got picked up. Fourteen years old, drunk off canned beer with a stolen fifty in his pocket. Taylor L. got picked up too. Taylor Lee Barry got pushed through processing, then yanked at the very last because grand-daddy came in roaring like a fury, spouting about bad choices and last chances.

No one came to yank Casey out at the last second.

Brendon had the audacity to think it all unfair. He’d been more worried about Casey getting out and dodging his father’s belt rather than being mindful of a future more dreary and far more difficult for his friend.

“Glad you’d skipped that night,” Casey muttered a few weeks later, bitter over his arrest and the subsequent crack-down his father had instated via police requirement. “Was messy and ugly. Didn’t think I’d ever see so many cop cars in my life.”

“…and your dad?” asked Brendon tentatively.

Casey shrugged. They lay across his bed, the comforter a worn blue and the pillowcases mismatched, yet both with a soccer emblem on their surface. “He’s still an asshole, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“How long is he enforcing house arrest?”

“Until he forgets, I hope. He says he’s ‘got plans’, but who the fuck knows what that means.”

From the master bedroom of Casey’s house came a breathy infant scream, the sort that lacked strength, vitality, but signaled an endless array of shrieks to make up for that first weakness. Casey groaned and reached across Brendon to grab a pillow before burying himself like an ostrich in the bunched blanket.

“Kill me now.”

Brendon’s gaze rested momentarily on Casey’s backside, then he flipped over so he’d be stomach down on the chance of a reaction. “She’s loud.”

“Out of all the times to get in trouble, it had to be when there’s a baby in the fucking house. I hate her.” And the seething vitriol in that muffled voice startled Brendon, but only for a moment, because Casey accompanied the words with a groan that turned comical in its exaggeration.

Once Amanda ceased her cries and the house fell back into the nominal sway of a murmuring television, Brendon said, “I’m going to have a new painting at The Bayscape soon.”

Casey gave a thumbs up, but didn’t remove his head out from under the pillow. “Butterflies?” A chuckle followed the words.

Brendon nudged him halfheartedly. “No.”

“Bet I could convince Becks to drive me to go see it. If she’ll ever leave Mom’s house, that is.” Then Casey reached over blindly, patting Brendon’s arm and face before finding his shoulder. “When you become a big shot, you’re going to buy me a fucking Charger, okay?”

Brendon laughed and agreed.


Next Chapter Coming Mar 10th!