Vol. 2, Issue #7 April 27th - May 10th, 2007

No More Happy Endings
By: G. Smith
Illustrations By: Josh Reynolds

Episode 7 - In the Sun

Skipper had been out of the joint for two weeks, but to me he looked worse than that. He looked mad, not some romantic Kerouacesque mad, but real mad, the kind of mad that warned you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you should have listened to your mother. All women are evil.

I sat next to him shirtless, breathing deep, trying to show no fear, trying to not look him in the eye. He had a peppered scraggly beard that hid the majority of a scar, a scar that spoke to me in with its own voice, “See me, boy, testament that your problems aren’t shit compared to me”, and I saw a young Skipper, a young Dalton James Fenway, getting shanked standing in the chow line. It was a racist scar, in and of itself, that generated dreams and nightmares and vocabularies of a different life: where niggers and spics and faggots didn’t care anymore than anyone else. Skipper had my father eyes, cold blue and somewhere else, eyes that came from war and buying into to something that may or may not be real but whose end result was right there, in that wicked stare.

He sat at a homemade desk in front of me. My chair was a hard, cold metal folding chair. He opened the cabinet on his desk and rows and rows of different colored little bottles of ink were so organized that at that moment, in spite of Skippers horrific persona, I knew that I was in the right place. Until of course, he slid open a drawer and drew out a chrome mechanical contraption that widened my eyes and made me doubt everything I had ever done. But I needed this. The American Indians may have their sun dances, but for a 17 year old boy looking for some kind of spiritual relief, this was the path of transcendence.

Skipper dipped the needle into a tiny cup of ink and turned toward me and smiled through broken teeth. He leaned towards me, I closed my eyes and felt his warm hand on my naked chest.

“Breathe deep and forget about it,” he said. And then I felt something so painful all of my dead ancestors since the beginning of time screamed inside me, and I felt the needle gouge deep and couldn’t close my eyes or grit my teeth hard enough. And there she was wearing her mauve colored bra whispering in my ear from across the flaming prairies, pulling me towards her, urging me to come back into her arms, back into the unyielding bed, back to where I am supposed to be.


I was smoking at intermission, kneeling out front of the Civic Center, alone with small scattered huddles of smokers, my parents still inside, saving my seat, waiting for the Beatles tribute band to again take the stage.
“Hi,” she said to me smiling. I looked behind me, but she was talking to me. I wore a tie-dyed Hendrix tee and faded jeans. She was short, blonde hair and freckles. She had the whitest smile I had ever seen.
“Hey,” I replied with smoke not knowing what to say. I recognized her as the girl who was sitting next to the older lady that sat next to her. My nervousness was crippling and I stayed kneeling and took another drag from my smoke.

She just looked at me as I looked away stupid, not knowing what to say wishing I had something cool to talk to her about, wishing I wasn’t smoking a cigarette, wishing I wasn’t with my parents, wishing for her to say something else, and wishing I had the right answer. But no, I kneeled before her sucking on my cancer stick, like it was cool in all of my past lives but this one, silent and retarded with a contorted smile similar to the smile babies smile as they poop.
“I hope the second half is as good as the first,” and with that she turned and smiled and left me in my cloud of smoke.

I smoked another and thought of cool things to say, cool questions to ask. Not hard to answer questions like Who’s your favorite Beatle? What’s your favorite Beatles song? But do you like the earlier or late Beatles? I like the early John Lennon but the later George Harrison. I like the 2nd half of the White Album and Revolver. Fixing a Hole is definitely the best song on Sgt. Pepper’s. She would say how she loved Rocky Racoon and I Will, and I will tell her that she should read Dostoyevsky’s Notes From Underground, ask her what would she do if she wrote a book that inspired one of her readers to kill the one of the greatest human beings on the planet, would she ever publish a book again, would she blame it on Yoko or Salinger. We both would pick Yoko.

I made my way inside, through the masses and found my parents and inched my way down the aisle making my way to the empty seat. The gorgeous freckled blonde was sitting where the lady had been. I figured it was her mother. I sat down between her and my father.

“You having a good time?” my Pop asked me.

“Yeah, you?” I asked and I looked the other way, to the seat next to me at the small white freckled arm resting on our shared arm rest.

“If you’re mother’s having a good time then I’m having a good time,” he said as the lights faded and a fake Paul McCartney appeared in a circle of light on the stage, and everyone rose and screamed, no one louder than my mother, as if there were four Christs before us.

I rose and jumped and Roll Over Beethoven came pounding over the audience and blonde little Jennifer Deanne Hollingsworth grabbed my arm in the frenzy and we all sang and my life, the rest of my life, became one with the Beatles, forever to be measured and compared and celebrated and drank to.


We spent most of our time together on the telephone. We lived 100 miles and two social levels apart. Her mother didn’t have to work. Her father was some big shot orthopedic surgeon who owned a tailor shop and a construction company. His business, although on the surface seemed to benefit the people, knew nothing except he dealt in the souls of families like mine. She didn’t much want to talk about her father, and my father at the time preached on labor unions and Marxism for the blue collar, and how this state was bassackwards. This was the same time that I enrolled in a welding class at the Vo-tech, to be like my old man, and I seriously thought I could see steam coming out of his head.

Jen had a friend named Amy that just got her license. They came down one afternoon because our school scrimmaged in football. Amy dropped her off at my house and we were to walk to the football field in an hour to meet her. We were home alone and I took her into my room and life took on a whole other meaning. Time swirled into itself as we talked about our dreams and our fears and I confessed to her with honest tears that she had me forever even if she was waiting, even if I didn’t know what to do with it if she would have given it to me. And we stayed in each others arms until I heard someone in the living room. My sister was home from the scrimmage. It had been over for an hour.

Panic sat in and we both ran the five blocks to the football field where sat Amy, waiting with Jen’s mom, who showed up to surprise her daughter.
It was all down hill from there. The mark I had left on her daughter’s neck probably didn’t help.


Her mother’s religion ran deep, and I, the smoking heathen, wasn’t to be seen. But Jen hadn’t gave up on me. We talked on the phone, mostly. She would read to me new poems she had written and I would receive those, days later, in envelopes that were covered in hearts and flowers. But as the Fall settled in there was no point. I had even picked up a bible and started with Matthew, but by the time I had got to John she had met someone else.

I still called her. I checked in from time to time. Other girls came and went, unfortunately compared.


By the time Skipper had finished with the colors, I was numb and bleeding. I stood and walked to the mirror and looked at my chest. The reality of the doubts of those we learn to believe in is something that I need no physical reminder of, but still as I think of Christ and the Roman soldiers rolling the bones for his clothes, some things may fade in the sun, but the important things are immortal.

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