Great Gatsby Franken-Farter stares at the creek. “I saw my aunt die.”
“I saw my grandpa die, too.” I remember Mama crying when she pulled the bed sheet over him and Daddy hugging her for a long time after. When they buried him, Scooter kept going back to the cemetery to see if Grandpa was sprouting from the dirt.
“Your grandpa. Was he run over by a get-away gangster, too? Like Aunt Sissy was? She didn’t Survive like your dog,” he says.
It sounds too horrible for truth. “Phonus balonus.”
“Suit yourself. You’re next?”
“Okay,” I say. But I won’t mention Miss Helen. I think for a while then decide to tell him another truth. “I’ve been Cooter Browned before,” I say, and almost taste the vomit-varnish from that night.
He’s not so smart after all.
“You know, I’ve been blotto before.”
His eyes crinkle when he laughs. “Let’s drink to that. Plenty of mornings I’ve had to chew my water. Tomorrow might be one of them.” He hands me the Mason jar.
I take it thinking it’s his way of making peace. I pretend to drink then hand it back.
“Where were you when you got drunk?” he says.
“At the carnival. Last weekend. The night Mama left.” I didn’t mean to say the last part. “I gotta go.”
Excerpt from The Moonshine Thicket