Mark Joseph Kevlock
made my way through the trailer park and found the right one and opened the
door and went inside. Out in the park, Christmas lights were everywhere and it
was beginning to snow. Inside the trailer it was dark. There was no sound. I
found Peter in the bedroom standing at the window holding the slats apart
watching it snow. His other arm hung at his side. In his hand was a gun.
first he had no reaction to my presence. Then he nodded toward the bed and
whispered, "They were passed out drunk when I got home." I looked
over and saw in the shadows two people sprawled in the bed. Clothes were strewn
on the floor and some were still atop the sheets. There was the smell of sex in
is how I find them every night," Peter said. "Every goddamn
what's the gun for?" I said. I was whispering too.
shouldn't be like this," he said. "Not tonight. Not any night, but
especially not tonight."
didn't say anything. More snow fell and Peter didn't move. The night was half
about if we get out of here?" I said. "Take a walk. You and me."
didn't say anything. I took a step closer to the bed. I didn't hear any
isn't right," he said. "The way they live. They're like animals. They
fuck like animals."
profanity sounded strange even in this environment. The whole world was a
not going to leave," he said. "Are you?"
I whispered back.
want you to leave."
raised the gun and pointed it at me. He was still whispering. "Fuck
sorry," he said.
didn't say anything. I didn't move.
is all I've ever heard," he said. "'Sorry for this. Sorry for that.'
Fuck sorry. People shouldn't do the things that they're sorry for."
turned away from the bed to face him. "What are you sorry for,
took his hand from the window slats and wiped his nose with the back of it.
"I'm sorry I was ever born."
He made a small disgusted snort.
"Why?" he said. "Fucking why. I'll tell you why. If you've got
caught him a little off-guard. "Well I don't," he said.
I have to pack."
gestured to the room around us. He was still pointing the gun but he was
starting to forget about it. "Would you stay in a place like this?"
might. If someone I loved lived here."
don't love either one of them," he said.
was still no movement or sound from the bed. I smelled the air hard for
night I come home to this," he said. "That's a fucked-up world I
don't want to live in."
don't blame you," I said.
don't blame you for wanting to leave."
wasn't always like this," Peter said. "They used to have fun. We all
used to have fun. But it didn't last. My mother got lonely because she was here
by herself all day. I don't blame her for that."
about your father?"
never had a father," he said. "I never knew him."
nodded. "If you leave," I said, "you'll never be able to come
was startled by this. "Why not?" he said.
they won't be here."
wrong," he said. He was barely whispering now. "They'll always be
here. And they'll always look just like this. This is who they are now. They're
not the people I used to know. They're animals. Both of them. Fucking
gun was pointing at the floor now. The light outside was getting brighter and
there was a wind to the storm.
you hurt them, Peter?"
didn't answer. He sniffled but he didn't answer. I waited. "They hurt
me," he said finally.
strained to hear any breathing from the direction of the bed. "Are they
okay?" I said. "Will you let me check on them?"
your voice down," Peter said. "It's a holy night."
know," I said.
was sniffling again and wiping his nose more often with his hand. "You
don't know anything," he said. "She was my mother. She's not allowed
to act like this. Nobody's mother should ever do the things that she
did you let her do it?" I said.
could've stopped her," I said. "Right when it started you could've
stopped them both."
he was startled. "She was my mother," he said. "I couldn't stop
her from doing anything."
you," Peter said. "I want you out of here."
got to tell me if they're okay," I said. "You've got to tell me what
happened before I got here."
should've never called you."
woman gave me your number. She said if things went bad you could help."
bother?" Peter said.
in the morning things look different," I said. "It's almost morning.
You should wait and see."
looked over at the bed and showed no emotion. "I'll be gone by then,"
you let me go to them?" I said. "If you won't tell me, will you at
least let me go to them and see for myself?"
dead," Peter said. "There's nothing for you to look at over
how?" I said.
smothered them," Peter said. "I found them passed out and I got sick
of it. I couldn't take it anymore. They were always there anyway so I thought
they should be there forever. I put the pillows over their heads and pressed
down. They were too drunk to fight."
let me go check," I said.
raised the gun and pointed it at me. "Keep your voice down," he said.
did you get the gun?"
a trailer park," he said.
nodded. "You said you were out earlier tonight. Where were you?"
have to go now," Peter said. "Don't make me hurt you."
I said. "I won't stop you."
you the police?"
I'm not the police. Not anymore."
are you then?"
help people. That's all."
don't need any more help," Peter said. "I'm leaving."
I said. "You can't ever come back."
don't think I want to."
going to pack," Peter said. "If you're not leaving I want you to wait
wait right here."
shoot you," Peter said.
can shoot me," I said. "But I'm not leaving this room."
then," he said. "You stay." He left the room and I heard him
with a gym bag digging in the hall closet. A gym bag would hold just about
everything in the trailer that was his.
stepped over to the bed. There were pillows over the heads of the two bodies. I
lifted one. Underneath was a boy, a teenager. He was a little older than Peter
and there was a strong resemblance.
told you not to go over there," Peter said.
turned back and he was pointing the gun right at my face.
your brother," I said.
a trailer park," Peter said. "It's where we live."
long was it going on?"
long as I can remember," Peter said. "I told you she was
were you earlier tonight?"
asking me that," he said.
you came home you were out somewhere."
blow your face off."
were shopping," I said.
hell I was."
were buying presents."
started to sniffle again and the gun was shaking in his hand.
fucking animals," he said. "You don't buy presents for animals."
going to leave now," he said.
reached out and he let me take the gun from his hand and he fell to his knees
sobbing. He tried to keep it quiet and that made the sound all the more painful
looked up at me and the release was coming. It would all pour out of him in a
moment. It was dawn outside and the wind was howling.
was going to leave," Peter said. "I really was. I just came home...
to give them their presents."
Mark Joseph Kevlock: (used to spell it: Kiewlak) has been a
published author since 1990. In the past couple of decades, his work has
appeared in Black Petals, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Plots
with Guns, Thug Lit, The Bitter Oleander, and Mysterical-E.
He has also written for DC Comics (FLASH 80-PAGE GIANT #2).
Hannah Greenberg captures the world in words and images. Her latest photography
portfolio is 20/20:
KJ Hannah Greenberg Eye on Israel.
Her most recent poetry collection is Mothers Ought to Utter Only Niceties (Unbound CONTENT, 2017). Her most recent
fiction collection is the omnibus, Concatenation (Bards & Sages Publishing, 2018).