The Moon

“I grew up in a small town, full-a hodunks and rednecks. A ass backwards town that couldn’t manage a scrape’a real tech between two fingers. Nothing to do, no one pretty to look at who weren’t a cousin, and weren’t a single kid in elementary that wanted to be friendly. Not much for me back home at all, no sir.

But I had the moon.

I’d lay on the open fields at night, din’t mind ticks or other crawlies or the law givin’ me grief. No, I’d lay in them fields all night. I’d watch that orb rise out of the dark, like…like one of them fire-birds from the old stories. A fee….feenix or somethin’ another. I’d watch it rise and fall. I’d pretend like I could reach out an’ touch it, or act like it could hear me or somethin’. Like some sorta God, ya know? Maybe it is god. It’s most always there, ‘cept nights it ain’t. Them nights, I’d peek in to Ol’ Newsome’s and borrow a couple bags’a candy. Guess that’s how I started bein’ rowdy, come to think.” The Bald Man scratched his chin.

The man in the White Coat scribbled on his note pad. “Newsome?”

The Bald Man smoothed out some wrinkles in his jumpsuit. “Local shop-keep. Had’a solid fi…finan…finansshul sit-che-ation or what have ya. Din’t need a couple’a candy bags. Prolly din’t miss ’em.”

White Coat continued scribbling. “Tell me more about the moon.”

The Bald man smiled a gaptooth grin. “Gawsh, I never stopped stargazin’. I’d always find time to. Nothin’ else much mattered ta me. Just somethin’ so amazin’ that we take for gran-ned. I’d watch that thing every night I could manage when I wasn’t payin’ the rent.” The Bald Man paused, maintaining a closed lip smirk.

“Ya’ll woulda never caught me if I hadn’t seen the window through the blood. There it was where it always had been. Right in the sky. Cou’int help maself. Just stood there like a fool and stared. Din’t even fight the coppers.”

White Coat observed his charge for a time. The Bald Man looked back, the same smirk cemented on his face. He looked like a child in a man’s body, wearing a grin that radiated only the purest innocence. The clever monsters wear the best masks.

“Don’t regret none of it, neither. ‘Cuz now-“, his eyes shifted towards the grey, cratered landscape beyond the window, “I get to be as close to God as I ever could be.”

The White Coat offered a smile of indifference to the grinning inmate sitting across the table from him, and then stood from his chair. As he exited the interrogation room, he tapped the guard standing watch.

“Give him a few minutes in there before you take him back. Simple pleasures every now and again calm the beast.”

The guard nodded and looked in on the Bald Man. He saw him staring out into space, eyes red and cheeks wet.

 

 

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