The Boy Who Loved
made fun of his obsession just like they made fun of everything else about
him. He thought, and still did, that it
wasn’t just because he was bookish; it was because he wasn’t “from there,”
which was another way of saying he wasn’t one of the “elect,” that sacred group
born in Mullin, Texas.
the movie magazine with his idol on the cover fell out of his school folder
onto the ground in full view of his class, he no longer bothered to hide his
he wasn’t just “that fag who reads books.”
He was now that “fag who liked fags.”
wasn’t because the boys of Mullin Middle School weren’t allowed to like
actors. But it had to be a certain kind;
ones like Roy Rogers and Tom Mix who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing tights
like Alan Bolt.
Dad understood. Dad knew about
unfashionable, “sissified” hobbies. In
his private time away from the pharmacy, Dad loved to paint and put his
pictures of unmurdered ducks on the walls of his study. This, along with his
movie posters, were
taken down by the boy’s social climbing Mom via the Baptist Church when she had
was why Dad bought him that rusty sword in San Antonio, along with a new paint
set and canvasses for himself.
wondered if Dad thought his obsession was a quest to find a more suitable
father figure. It wasn’t. It
was about finding a better big brother,
who relentlessly made himself red-neck enough to be more or less accepted by
his peers at Mullin High School.
school bell rang, and the boy practically skipped home rather than ride the bus
with his hostile peers. He had a whole
summer to look forward to; of his sword striking overhanging tree limbs and
chopping weeds as if they were the army of that counterfeit king from the
let himself into his house which was another reason the lunks hated him. His
Dad, the town pharmacist made enough
money (he was the second richest man in town, and unlike the first, the mayor,
he didn’t get his money from kickbacks and graft) that the family never had to
worry about the bank foreclosing on the house the way they did the farms.
family had nothing to fear from “Old Man Depression.”
he went upstairs to Dad’s closet, which he was forbidden to enter because that
was where Dad stashed some of the medicine that required a prescription.
found the vial and syringe and went back downstairs whistling the tune from Captain
He passed the dining room table,
where Mom and Dad and his brother hadn't moved from all week, even with the
flies darting in and out of their open mouths.
patted Dad affectionately on the shoulder.
boy knew he was on borrowed time and didn’t care.
opened the basement door and went down the stairs.
figure chained by the ankle to the radiator had given up trying to escape and
promising the boy the world if he let him go.
that mattered was the morphine fix.
boy smiled as the man got up, chain rattling, rolled up his sleeve and let the
boy inject him.
man plopped on his butt, his eyes rolling up into his head in a state of bliss.
The boy sat down in a chair across from the
the escape scene from ‘Captain From Tortuga.”’
Capshaw is a writer based in Florida. His novel, The
Stage Mother's Club, came out in
June from Dark Edge Press.