Fifty-seven years

Fifty-seven. Four syllables, ten letters. Literally a lifetime of years, more than half a century in those four syllables, ten letters. It seemed cruel that cancer was going to take him out so late in the game. It should have happened sooner. When he left Handsome this last time, he was going to park his Jeep in the middle of town and spit on its corrupted old bones. Maybe take a piss in the blackened, empty lot that was The Handsome Hotel.

No. He was too tired and too old to hold onto all the resentments. It was done, it was done a long time ago.

Sharp curve up next. The gravel was so eroded it was practically sand. No one ever graded Little Route as far as he knew. He guessed the town owned it, but never maintained it. No reason to keep it up to code. No one ever traveled it, and the dead end wasn’t even interesting enough to turn into a decent ghost story.

He took the curve slowly, slower than necessary, but not out of any concern for his vehicle. He drove a few more yards and pulled the Jeep over to the side of the road. He rolled up the windows and turned on the air. He was going to be here for awhile, and wanted to cool down first.

He closed his eyes and listened to the soft air hush through the vents. It got cold almost immediately, but he let it run. It was good for the flowers in the back seat. And cold air always felt good to him.

I miss you, son,” he said to no one.

He sat for almost fifteen minutes, eyes shut, a few tears squeezed out. Fifty-seven years.

steven book

Excerpt from Ordinary Handsome. Only $2.99. Available at

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