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Dave Brady
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overthemoon.jpg
Art by Paul Dick 2011

Over the Moon

 

Dave Brady

 

Kelsey’s mother took the kids to Maine for Labor Day weekend and we wanted to make the best of it. I don’t know what the hell happened. Dropping acid makes even normal shit seem fucked up, but this was on another level.

 

Reading the paper that morning, Kelsey saw that the museum was reviving Laser Pink Floyd.

 

“Remember that, Cal?” she asked, laying the Herald on the counter. “How we used to trip our faces off watching all the lights and the colors. How they went with the music?”

 

The microwave pinged, and I took the bacon out. It was soggy in the middle, like me.

 

Kelsey folded the paper back over its spine, and bit the cap off her pen.

 

“I can get acid,” I said, scraping the toast now with a steak knife. “That Spanish chick who goes out with Saggy Maggie’s brother? She’s a deadhead.”

 

I put the knife down. Kelsey was shaking her head, the pen cap still between her teeth.

 

“Laser Pink Floyd,” I said, “or sweating all day in front of the TV?”

 

That night we stopped at the foot of the Prison Point Bridge. Kelsey said she had to tie her shoe. She was wearing flip flops.

 

“I have butterflies,” she said. “Maybe I’m too old to trip.”

 

“Relax,” I said, rubbing her bare shoulder. It felt like one of the water balloons JJ left out in the sun that time. I didn’t tell Kelsey. Afraid she might miss the kids. “Once we get inside, we’ll be fine. Think of the guitars. The shapes. Good times, babe.”

“You’re right,” she said, moving her pocketbook across her shoulder. “If we get inside before we start tripping, we’ll be fine. We’ll be perfect.”

 

The bridge stretched as Kelsey walked ahead, the lights of the Cambridge jail blinking in the night. Underneath, the rattle of the Amtrak drifting towards North Station, and the subway whining away, unnerved me all of a sudden. A seagull squawked from the sky and I booked it. Kelsey had the right idea, I thought, jogging to catch up. The sooner we sat in those plush seats, in the safety of the crowd, the better. I charged after her, surprised at the distance she'd gained.

 

“Wait up,” I said, as her figure dimmed in the gap between streetlights.  

 

The headlights of a car flashed on Kelsey’s shiny blonde hair. A truck coming in the other direction blinded me for a second and then I saw. A skinny guy in a hoodie punched Kelsey in the gut. She fell to the concrete and curled away. At first, I thought she was rolling away like a kickball. Then I realized she’d passed out of the corner of my eye because I was rushing this asshole.

 

Adrenaline kicked in, or maybe shock, or the acid. I caught him by the shoulders. The tendons under his sweatshirt were rippling and I tried pressing them still with my thumbs. I remember wishing, if only cars were people, they could stop and help.

 

A small brown Dodge seemed to glance back over its shoulder.

 

“Dodge!” I yelled.

 

The guy kicked me in the shin and I lost my grip. Bouncing back a step, he took something out of his pocket and swung. This isn’t happening, I thought. Not to Kelsey.

 

“I got, like, thirty bucks on me,” I said, throwing my arms up. “It's yours.”

 

With both hands in my pockets fishing for the money, I couldn’t defend myself when he came at me. Flying, propelled by something like he was the god of petty thieves. As his body crushed mine against the railing, though, his brown eyes narrowed. He wasn’t in control.

 

I could hear Kelsey underneath him, grunting. The soundtrack of another moment blared over this one. Kelsey’s hissing and roaring, as she pushed out one of our kids.

 

“Kelsey?” I said, my heartbeat pounding me out of my senses. “You’re not having a baby right now, right?”

 

“Help me, Cal.”

 

The railing pressed against my lower back, aggravating an old hockey injury. I opened my eyes and looked at the space between me and the fifty-foot drop to the ground. I thought, I might be taking a header off this bridge if I don’t act.

 

Squirming out from underneath this bastard, I scraped my cheek over his belt. Kelsey moved her arm aside to let me climb between his legs and that’s when I saw. My wife, my sweet petite wife, had a death grip on this guy’s crotch.  

 

Her face glistening, her hair blowing in the breeze, she twisted her hold.

 

“Help,” she said, shaking the curls out of her eyes.

 

Just as I wondered if I’d married some kind of superwoman, Kelsey cried and drew back her hand. Rivulets of blood snaked down her arm. I leapt up as our attacker whirled around and I threw him against the railing, my elbow on his neck, my hand lifting him by the belt. In his hand, a silver blade caught the moonlight. He’ll scrape us both like burnt toast, I thought. I dug my elbow deeper into his throat until it fell away.

 

I didn’t hear the knife land.

 

Suddenly, the pressure in my arms slackened. Even though I was summoning all my strength. I noticed Kelsey, crouched at my foot. She was clutching his legs.

 

“What the fuck?” he said, twisting and jerking.

 

The pressure slackened again. The subway screeched to a halt somewhere down below. My knees shook as I watched Kelsey’s bloody hand lifting the guy’s legs up—and I fell back. There was nothing to hold. When the rhythm of the zooming cars brought me back to the bridge,= I looked around. Nobody was on the pathway besides me and Kelsey.

 

He must have made a sound when he landed, but I didn’t hear it.

 

“Babe?” I said, catching my breath. Kelsey was pulling a chain of Kleenex out of her pocketbook. She wrapped them around her hand, and wrapped that with her bandana.

 

“We’re going to be late,” she said, standing.

 

By the time we crossed the bridge, I had to wonder. Had I imagined it all? Whenever I tried to put this into words, Kelsey blew me off. She was dead set on finding a Diet Coke before the show started. She found her Coke at the concession stand and we had a great time—I fingered Kelsey during “Us and Them” just like I did in 1995. The euphony of Floyd and the mesmerizing lights brought us back, I think, from that dark place we crossed into for a few minutes on that bridge.  

 

Neither of us, I remember, read the paper for a while afterwards. 

 

 

 

Dave M. Brady, like most writers, is obsessed with telling stories. Like a kid who's just woken up from the coolest dream ever and can’t shut up about it. He's published both literary and crime fiction online and in print. To find out about all the myriad of projects he's currently working on--and to read a short story called "Wikipedia Brown Gets The AIDS"--visit him at davembrady.com.

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